February 18, 2021 | by Rev. Dr Maidstone Mulenga
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church will be offering a weekly devotion during the Lenten season which begins this week. Each Wednesday during Lent and every day during Holy Week, a 15-minute recorded devotion, led by a bishop and leaders from their episcopal areas will be released.
“We are offering this Lenten Devotion Series on Dismantling Racism in the hope that the church can engage in honest reflection about the realities of racism, colonialism and tribalism. All of these sins persist in the church, our local communities and the world. Lent is the time to humbly acknowledge this reality, to pray, to learn and ultimately work to reshape our world as it is in heaven,” noted Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the North Carolina Annual Conference, who chairs the Council’s Task Force to End Racism.
The devotions are part of the larger Dismantling Racism Initiative launched by the Council in June of 2020. The purpose of the Initiative is to cultivate sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and to promote collective action for racial justice in the church and world.
Beginning with the Juneteenth announcement that launched the initiative, and continuing through the end of 2021, the Bishops will take the church on a journey of lament, confession, deepened awareness, and deliberate action planning to resist and dismantle the vestiges of personal and systemic racism that devastates God’s vision of the Beloved Community.
To date the initiative has sponsored a service of lament, several town hall meetings (co-sponsored with General Agencies), dialogue sessions within the Council and now continues with this series of Lenten devotions.
“The Council of Bishops has unanimously affirmed our commitment to engage the work of anti-racism in our individual annual conferences, in our shared life within the Council and in our leadership of the church. My prayer is that the church at every level will join with us in rejecting the sin of racism and oppression in the church and world and in embracing the diversity of the kingdom of God where love, peace and justice reign,” said Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the Council of Bishops.
The devotions can be found online by clicking on this link. The tentative schedule for the series is: